I’ve been a parent for 11 years and I have to admit…it’s hard. What an awesome privilege, but at the same time a tremendous challenge.
There’s a lot of talk about grace in parenting, but what does this look like? Does it mean allowing a child to get away with a sin in his life this one time even though he’s been disciplined for it the past few times?
To really understand how to be graceful with our children, we need to know what grace means. My first thought of grace is withholding a consequence when it really should be given. However, upon closer inspection, this is not the true meaning.
What is Grace? is a wonderful site with this description: “The grace of God is the engine that drives the life of a successful Christian. Grace is the pleasure that moves God to create and love man.” 
What is part of this process of God driving the life of a successful Christian? Is it allowing the Christian to do whatever he wants? Or is it giving direction? Correction? And possibly, discipline?
Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Grace is giving direction, correction, discipline, and also having compassion. All of these work together to move us in the direction God wants us to go.
Our children deserve no less. Training them includes compassion, listening, teaching, and discipline. It must be coupled with sincerity and consistency. Nothing is more confusing to a child than when his parent is not consistent. It actually causes more behavioral problems.
So, grace is not the absence of discipline. Rather, it is the grouping of all the above components of child training. It draws the child closer to Jesus and to his parents. It creates balance and balance is the key to raising emotionally and spiritually healthy children.
I Peter 2:21 tells that we are to walk in Jesus’ steps. This translates into every area of our lives.
Parenting is not excluded.
This is a tall order, but one that is required so we will be able to show Jesus to those around us. How can this be done with our children?
The day-to-day grind can be overwhelming at times. Tricia Goyer shares a little tid-bit of information to help us parent with eternity in mind.
I want so desperately to be like Jesus in every way.
However, parenting seems to be the area of my life that I have the hardest time being like Jesus. I think it’s because this task God has given me is the most difficult I will ever encounter.
So how can I take care of these children in the way God wants me to? Sally Clarkson speaks about this in the video I have included. She is always such an encouragement to me. Watch and be encouraged as well!
At the end of every day it seems that I’m just plain tired. Some days more than others. But, the fact of the matter is, I’ve worked hard and I’m ready for some down time. We are all in different stages of life that offer different challenges, but for me, right now, my challenge is parenting.
I never thought when I embarked on this journey that it would be so draining. Common sense said it was going to be work, but this is something I could never have fully prepared myself for.
The other day was particularly discouraging. I work hard to train my children to love God and I have this one child who wants to be in charge. I was tired of it. I wanted to throw my hands up and say, “Forget this!”
So when I read the verse “And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9), it almost seems like a joke! Really? I’m not supposed to grow weary? Impossible! How can there be times when I am not “utterly spiritless, . . . wearied out, exhausted?” 
Truthfully, it is impossible! No human in this world can do the job that has been given to them in their own power. It is when we start focusing on the problems of the moment that we begin to feel the burden more heavily. Our thoughts spiral downward. We want to “forget this!”
But God has a different solution. Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
This phrase “wait upon the LORD” doesn’t mean to sit around and wait for something to happen. If it did, the rest of the verse wouldn’t talk about walking and running. Waiting on the Lord requires strength. It means “to twist, to bind; to be strong, robust; to expect, to wait; to be gathered together.” 
This holds the connotation that God expects us to work hard in training our children diligently, in being a light in that dark place we call work, in practicing servanthood to those around us, and in persevering in any other trial you are experiencing right now. What are we to do in the midst of all this?
Expect to receive Jehovah’s help.
If we know that someone has our back and is there to guide us, especially in the turbulent times, we have a strength that doesn’t come just from having determination. Our bodies and emotions get tired, yes. Yet, we look to Jesus to deliver us and to remind us that we are about his work and that he is with us every step of the way.
This is our strength.
This is our hope.
“…In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)
How has God shown himself real to you to help you not grow weary?
1. Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ekkakeō (Strong’s 1573)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 19 Nov 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
2. Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for qavah (Strong’s 6960)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 21 Nov 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Growing up, I heard all the stories of Joshua and Caleb and of how brave they were. They didn’t back down when everyone else did. They believed God.
But that’s where it stopped for them! They only did the important things. The big things. They missed another key ingredient to the success of the Israelites:
Training their children.
Was it important to follow God and conquer the land? Definitely! God wanted complete obedience from them in this area. But he also knew how important it was to pass the torch. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:18-20 emphasize the importance of diligently training our children. This training happens when we do laundry, wash the dishes, clean the car, go for a walk, and any other activity you can think of. It is not to be just a part of our lives; it is to be our lives.
This is where Joshua and Caleb failed. They were so busy fighting (doing the right thing), that they forgot to do the other right thing. They forgot to tell their children about all the wonderful things God had done for them. It seems that talking to their children about God would have been as natural as taking a breath for them, but yet they missed it. And what was the result?
And also all that generation (the generation that crossed over Jordan) were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:10-12)
It didn’t take long. One generation. That was their children! Not their grandchildren!! The Israelites failed to share how they saw God work and the price that was paid was enormous.
I may not have all the answers to the questions about the Bible that my children have, but that should not make me shy away from talking about God! If I love the Lord like I really think I do, it should be spilling out.
Joshua and Caleb were incredible men with incredible faith! But they also made some grave errors. We need to learn from them in both areas.
Will you help me pass the torch and ensure that the next generation will not be ignorant of God and all that he can do?
After church on Sunday mornings, we like to ask our children what they learned in Sunday School and junior church. Our six-year-old is never afraid to tell us exactly how he feels.
“We heard the same story…again!!”
It almost seems that they get bored with it. And how can I blame them? They probably hear the same stories again and again, taught with the same inflections, from the same point of view.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t want them to get bored with Jesus! I don’t want them to think that Jesus walking on the water is ho-hum. I want them to know that Jesus was a very real person!
But, truthfully, it’s almost inevitable when the lesson that is taught comes from a curriculum. It is so easy to stick with the curriculum because you feel like you’re doing something wrong if you deviate from the path a bit. In other words, you’re just going through the motions. (I know that not every teacher out there is like this. I have some good friends who move past the curriculum to the heart. I’m speaking in generalities here.)
It comes down to Mom and Dad making the Bible come alive to the children. The unfortunate thing is, as parents, we tend to rely on the pastor to give us some valuable nugget of truth. We expect that he will nourish us! I will say that we should be able to learn something from him, but that is a very small part of our overall “eating” regimen.
How can we feed our children if we have nothing to feed them? The Bible has an amazing reservoir of nuggets! We just have to take the time to dig them up. Because, when you do, it’s very hard not to share this with them! It is exciting to you and, in turn, it will be exciting to them!
So, back to the original situation. How can we take what our child has learned and put it into focus for them? How can we make it applicable to their little lives?
The main thing is to pray for wisdom. The Holy Spirit knows your children better than you do and you’d be amazed what he’ll put into your mind at the moment you need it. Also, think about how the story can apply to their lives. Maybe they never thought about the fact that Jesus had to learn, too! He had to work hard! That was part of him living in the flesh.
This puts the Bible on their level. It gives them that extra viewpoint which makes the Bible a current book. A book they can always look to.
None of my children have asked this question yet, but I can guarantee you, it’s coming. Sometime in the not too distant future.
Actually, it’s a good question! And I really don’t think God minds that we ask it. The Bible has been copied over and over and over again. We all know how mistakes can happen in these situations. How can it possibly be reliable? 
But how to answer it? It would be easy to get too entangled in the details. In this setting, less is more. Some history is good, but before we get into the history of why the Bible is reliable, we need to set the foundation from the Bible that explains its validity. Here are a few verses that God made sure was in His book that gives us an answer:
II Tim. 3:16 (All Scripture is inspired.)
I Cor. 15:6 (Some of the people who wrote the New Testament saw Jesus in the flesh.)
Mark 13:31 (Jesus stating that His words will never pass away.)
These are excellent verses to get children to memorize, and for the most part, it will suffice until they get older and start thinking about it more.
The Bible is a historically accurate book. The events that occurred in it are not made up. For instance, when Jesus rose from the dead, women were the first to hear about it and a woman was actually the first one to speak to him. (Mark 16:1-10; Luke 24:1-10) If the writers of the Gospels wanted to make something up, this would be it. Women had virtually no ranking in society at that time and it would have been more profitable (humanly speaking) to change the story. But they didn’t. They stuck to the facts. 
This is an internal example. But what about the external (meaning evidence outside the Word of God)? Got Questions.org puts it plainly:
“There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through both archaeological evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.” 
This is only the beginning. Much more could be said on this topic; however, for the audience it is intended for (children), this will prove to give them enough to think about and the confidence that God did not only write his wonderful book, but he also preserved it for us!
1. http://www.soulation.org/media/Q-HowDoIKnowTheBibleWasntChanged.html (Excellent source on this question.)
I wrote before about different ways we as parents can approach raising our children to be more grounded in the doctrines of the Bible and hence, more “apologetic” as they get older.
I also addressed and listed some excellent Bible verses that teach the deity of Jesus Christ. The question is, what are the other doctrines that we need to teach to our children?
In this post, I’m going to make a list of the main doctrines I feel children should know. (This is not a complete list. But I think it’s enough to get started on.) Because of the immense scope of each doctrine, I will not address each one individually here. I will save each doctrine for its own post. But this will be something to get the ol’ wheels turning!
- The Doctrine of the Bible
- The Doctrine of God
- The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
- The Doctrine of Salvation
I don’t want to be redundant, but obviously this is not an all-inclusive list. There are doctrines that need to be covered, but only after the ones mentioned above have been taught.
Before I conclude, I want to encourage you to not get overwhelmed. This is why I’ve tried to keep it simple. (By the way, there is a reason we have them for approximately eighteen years! We do have time.)
There are apologists out there that are not only teaching others about Jesus, but incorporating the same training at home. We can do the same. We need to do the same. I don’t want to harp on what I’ve already said elsewhere, but God is not going to ask your pastor if he trained your children. He’s going to ask you and every other parent that is His child.
I’m looking forward to delving deeper into the doctrine of the Bible!
Please, leave a comment if you have any ideas that we can use in teaching our children!
I am revisiting this post because I wanted to actually include the verses that can be used to teach your children about why Jesus is God. So, if you have already read this post, you can just scroll to the bottom for the list. If you haven’t read it, well…you should just read it because I’m such a fabulous writer! (I’m just kidding, I hope you know!)
It seems that driving creates great opportunities to talk with my children! I listen to them. They listen to me. I love them so much and as long as I don’t belittle what they say, they will feel free to discuss anything that comes to their mind.
For some reason, though, talking about Jesus with them takes a bit more effort. Am I the only one that feels this way? I am passionate about my Saviour and want to share him with the same effort I have when it comes to talking about books! (Which is none. I love me some books!!).
Why is it then, that I feel like I have to make more of an effort? I think part of it is that Satan doesn’t want me to talk about him. He would rather that I think I have to be in a certain setting to do so. Because if I push Jesus into a little “this-is-the-only-place-where-I-can-talk-about-you” box, I will have successfully communicated to my children that this is a religion, not a relationship. It will become a list of do’s and don’t's. It will become…boring.
So, in our car ride, I decided we would learn a Bible verse. I first asked them if they believed that Jesus is God.
Well, of course, they do!
“But, do you know any verses that say he is?”
“No,” they couldn’t think of any.
“Okay. Let’s learn one!” I said. And so it began. We are learning the verses that state clearly that Jesus is God. It was a wonderful opportunity to explain that we can say Jesus is God to someone else, but if we don’t have a Bible verse to back it up, it won’t matter to that person. The Bible is that powerful!
If you want to join me on this journey of teaching Jesus to our children, all you need to do is click on the links and it will take you straight to the verses! Easy peasy!
There are more verses, but I think this is a good start! If you want to read more about the other verses that teach Jesus’ deity, go to Got Questions.org. It’s an excellent resource for any questions you may have. (This site is where I obtained the verses I included in this post.)
I would love to hear how you teach Jesus to your children! The more ideas we get, the better!
Look at that adorable face! It seems I can’t give him enough kisses.
When I look at him, I wonder how I can say “no” as often as I do.
But when I’m faced with a 14-month-old giving his taste buds a try at the wonderful delicacy of paper, it’s not too hard to resist.
Or when he’s into something he shouldn’t be and he looks at me with mischief in his eyes, “no” is not too difficult.
There are some who believe that “no” is negative and we shouldn’t use it with our children. The question is, how will these children be prepared for life as an adult when they will be faced with the reality of no’s? They will probably manipulate their way into getting what they want and will in turn be difficult people to deal with.
I have to say “no.” In order for my baby to be safe, to learn the value of listening, and to be obedient, he needs to understand the boundaries that are in his life.
I think God gave us children so we could understand just a bit more how he views us. If we got everything we ever wanted, we would never learn the value of trusting and waiting. We would see that a God like that doesn’t really care about us.
“Just give her what she wants and maybe she’ll leave me alone.”
This would ultimately be his attitude. We would “discover that often God gets more accomplished with a no than a yes. If we had everything we asked for the minute we asked, then we probably wouldn’t learn very much from the crisis of the moment.” 
Our life on earth would then become useless for God. It is through learning to accept God’s no, that we are able to empathize with others when they also hear the no.
Part of the pathway to Heaven is the ministering that we do to others. God imparts to us a more compassionate spirit when have had to go through the no’s. We know what it’s like to have to rest and wait.
It gives us a more heavenly view. For if we always received a yes, then we would never have to really look to our Heavenly Father.
We would cling too tightly to this world.
1. Your 100 Day Prayer, by John I. Snyder, p. 164-165.